Victoria Vivians added another piece of hardware to her impressive freshman season as she was named the 2015 Gillom Trophy winner Monday at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson.
Vivians became the first freshman to win the award, which is presented annually to the state’s top women’s college basketball player. She also became the third Mississippi State player to claim the honor, joining 2013 winner Martha Alwal and two-time recipient Alexis Rack (2009 and 2010).
“I’m so honored to win the Gillom Trophy as a freshman, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, coaches, family, friends and our fans,” Vivians said. “It means so much to be named the best player in the state of Mississippi because I have worked hard and my teammates have worked hard to get me in this position. It’s an honor to receive this award.”
The Bulldogs are the only program to win the award four times.
Vivians beat out Ole Miss’ Tia Faleru and Southern Miss’ Tamara Jones for the award.
She became just the second freshman to win one of the state’s top player awards, with the other being 1996 Conerly Trophy winner Tregnel Thomas of Delta State.
She claimed 78 percent of the fan vote for the award. The other 90 percent was decided by a vote of statewide media who cover college basketball.
“It’s a very deserving honor for Victoria, and we are so proud of her. She might be the leading scorer in the SEC, but she is such a great teammate. She makes everyone around her better,” head coach Vic Schaefer said. “Victoria is very unselfish, almost to a fault. She’s learning as a freshman to be that complete basketball player, but for us she has meant a lot to our program from a competitive standpoint as well as being a winner. It’s hard to find those competitive kids, especially at a young age, but she has it. She has that ‘It’ factor.”
Vivians claimed the award after leading the SEC in scoring with 15.1 ppg as a rookie, the fifth-highest freshman average in the nation. She was also the league’s top freshman scorer in conference play, scoring at a 13.8 clip that was seventh overall.
The Carthage, Miss., native led Schaefer’s Bulldogs to school records for wins overall (26) and in SEC play (11). She also helped State match its best-ever league finish (third place).
The second team All-SEC and All-Freshman Team selection ended the campaign scoring double figures in 10 of the Bulldogs’ last 11 games, averaging 16.7 ppg in that stretch.
She knocked down 19 points in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal against No. 12/11 Kentucky after going for an MSU freshman record 39 points in the season’s first matchup in Lexington.
That tally tied for the most points in the nation by a freshman this season.
Last Friday’s 19-point effort gave Vivians a 17.9 scoring average against ranked opponents, including 26 against then-No. 16 West Virginia in her third collegiate game.
That effort helped her average 19.3 ppg to earn Preseason WNIT MVP honors in her first four collegiate games.
Vivians earned SEC Freshman of the Week four times during the season, and she also claimed the Bulldogs’ first USBWA National Freshman of the Week accolade.
The only SEC freshman to rate Top 10 in the league in scoring, field goal percentage and free throw percentage, Vivians knocked down the winning 3-pointer in overtime against No. 13 Texas A&M.
She also hit a pair of big 3-pointers at Kentucky before hitting the winning bucket in the final minute of a road win at Alabama.
Vivians capped the regular season by scoring 17 points to complete a season sweep of rival Ole Miss.
(From MSU Media Relations)